Mimosa 200It's not actually "5G" but it delivers great speed, is commercial today, cheap, doesn't need expensive mmWave, and beats Verizon to market. Impressive. From a customer's home near Fremont, George Ginis's Sail Internet used the Mimosa PtMP radio in Wi-Fi spectrum.  I know the people and the technology and believe it works. I just didn't know the products were ready.

George, a friend, just tweeted, "My favorite moment at work is when I run a speed test like this - from a customer's home served by a PtMP radio." Image at left and larger below.

Of course, this isn't "5G" in a meaningful sense. The Mimosa gear is essentially a souped up 4x4 802.11ac Wi-Fi with some special sauce.  

The performance is close to what's promised for 5G, so I can understand why the company makes the claim. The system design is very similar to Verizon's, including control from the cloud. They use 5 GHz spectrum instead of 28 GHz. 802.11ac is the Wi-Fi variation that can go over a gigabit directly point to point.  Mimosa, Ubiquiti, and others have proven that with the right antennas and good line of sight, the Wi-Fi signals can go kilometers. They are using the latest chips, possibly Quantenna, and adding what they call SRS to squeeze more performance. PtMP is "point to multipoint." A single transmitter can connect to multiple homes, bringing down the cost per home.

Point to multi-point wireless, like 5G, is a shared service. The performance will go down if the node is congested. George writes me they are selling the offering as 200 megabits. Chipmakers have promised higher performance in the next year or two, which will provide some reserve.

802.11ac uses 80 MHz of spectrum to reach these speeds. It's wide open now but even a few systems like this can cause congestion. Mimosa's cloud controllers can mitigate that, but Wi-Fi itself does not have good congestion control. Performance as more use the Wi-FI, some Mimosa and some not, is to be proven. 

This is a more advanced version of the equipment used by WISPs and others to serve millions of homes around the world. The WISPs generally charge $40-70/month; offerings like this in volume shouldn't be much more expensive. 

5G mmWave fixed wireless, like Verizon is building, is a much more complicated system. Starry in Boston, building their own version of PtMP for mmWave, is also targeting low prices. Both use millimeter wave, expensive and more limited in distance. By most definitions, mmWave is "5G" but Wi-Fi isn't. But marketing people have made the term "5G" almost meaningless. The proof is in the performance.

Mimosa has a sophisticated cloud system to manage everything. There are several ideas on how to coordinate Wi-Fi for better performance. This is how the company describes what they are using.

"Leveraging technology advancements in Massive MIMO and antenna beamforming, Mimosa’s proprietary Spectrum Reuse Synchronization (SRS) technology adds an even more powerful dimension to scale wireless networks with expanded capacity and bandwidth. Precise time coordination of transmissions network‑wide eliminates the interference caused by nearby radios, allowing a single access point (AP) to efficiently reuse channels rather than wasting spectrum to avoid interference."

George Ginis is a Stanford Ph.D. who did pioneering work on DSL vectoring. Brian Hinman and Jamie Fink's 2Wire sold millions of home gateways to companies like AT&T.  Hinman before that led PictureTel Corporation and Polycom. They have numerous patents and are well known in the field.

I'd be very happy with 300/300 if it were brought here.

Mimosa 650

dave askJuly 2017 Gigabit LTE is real in 2017. So is 5G Massive MIMO. 5G mmWave to fixed antennas is likely 2018, with mobile to follow. China, Japan, Korea, and Verizon U.S. have planned $500B for "5G," with heavy investment expected 2019-2021. 

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Wireless One - W1 replaces 5gwnews.com in July 2017. Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor.